Rixos Saadiyat Island – The All Inclusive Resort with All the ‘à la Carte’ Feels

As Abu Dhabi’s first all-inclusive hotel, Rixos Saadiyat Island is setting standards, others are watching. The Luxe Diary checked in.

Read our review of Rixos Saadiyat Island – the all-inclusive resort with all the ‘à la carte’ feels.

Turkish hotel group Rixos has made a swift but impressive entry into the UAE hotel ecosystem. With its resorts on Palm Jumeirah and in Ras Al Khaimah it brought a fresh brand of hospitality – and in its 2018 arrival into the capital introduced something largely still a novelty in the UAE – the “ultra all-inclusive” concept.

Where the RAK resort, on lively Al Mariah Island, has something of a party reputation, Abu Dhabi’s tranquil by comparison Saadiyat Island was always going to offer a contrast.

Checking In.

For starters, there’s an epic feel to the arrival lobby, a grand space just on the right side of ostentatious; blending stained glass, ornate ceilings and ubiquitous marble flooring. A subtle Ottoman influence creeps into the design, which also channels art deco via occasionally dramatic furniture.

Once checked in, a reception assistant ushers you to your room – in our case a garden-facing double with a deep, furnished balcony.  Those epic but cheerful design details from downstairs feed into bedrooms where curious ornaments accompany warmly coloured furnishings.

The Concept.

The capital’s favourite beachfront is beginning to fill up with resorts. Rixos Saadiyat Island contrasts its neighbours by taking the all-inclusive concept already successfully pioneered in RAK and non-UAE resorts and applying it to an elegant five-star resort with all the amenities and F&B you would hope for, but without the hefty final price tag.

As anyone who knows the Turkish hotel group’s Dubai properties will concur, this also comes with an element of fun. These include the hotel “skater waiters” who whizz around on in-line skates taking refreshments to guests around the main pool. And, with the all-inclusive model, you’re not having to sign a slip every time you snack or sip.

Opened last October, the Rixos model – a regular feature in European destinations – enables guests to better budget their staycation while indulging in a resort blessed with architecture that blends Arabic tradition with modern amenities to Insta-loving effect.

The F&B.

After being under-whelmed by the minibar fridge – the most inspiring contents arguably the soft drinks choice and tubes of Smarties – the resort’s extensive F&B assortment beckoned.

While your package includes all, you are advised to reserve a table at a la carte options to avoid disappointment; such as Japanese outlet Aja Asian & Teppanyaki, which offers a short but solid menu and a fun, if slightly brief, teppanyaki experience inside and out.

Generous, well presented food had Mermaid standing out alongside fresh decor matched with a nicely cooked range of Mediterranean seafood dishes, including stunning octopus, meats and salads.

That lobby elegance also permeates L’Olivio – delivering pasta and pizza in European-inspired ambience – while Orient handles Oriental Turkish cuisine within stylish surroundings.

People’s is a stark contrast with bright, thoroughly modern casual dining granted beach views. Beating all the above for sheer scale and instant choice is all-day dining restaurant Turquoise.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner service scours territories from Arabia to India to tender a huge array of dishes. The first sitting includes regular favourites alongside Turkish staples such as menemen – posh scrambled eggs – and spicy sausage. The Vitamin Bar offers another nutritional top-up.

The Setting on Saadiyat.

Saadiyat is known for its popularity among nesting turtles, so the resort’s lush natural beach is accessed via a wooden boardwalk that crosses these creatures’ favoured sites.

With the late summer heat at full setting numerous wave-facing loungers with umbrellas are serviced by a wooden booth stocked with cold drinks, while the main pool boasts a swim-up bar, plenty of loungers and – importantly if you have kids – food carts serving Baskin Robbins ice cream, fresh juices and pretzels.

Sensitive illumination embraces the resort come sundown, including a large courtyard beyond the lobby and Lounge Bar brought to life by live music and DJs as guests share shisha (at extra cost) in sunken seating areas.

The Final Word.

The Rixos all-inclusive concept began in Antalya, Turkey, in the early 2000s and while premium adult refreshment brands may occasionally be lacking, there’s satisfaction in not having to sign slips after each order or put the credit card through its paces again on check-out.

“What we offer is peace of mind, knowing that there won’t be any hidden costs or extra bills to settle at the end of your stay,” explains Rixos Saadiyat Island General Manager Burcak Orak. “What you set out to pay upon booking with us is what you will pay at the end of your stay, while having had no restrictions with food and beverages during that time in the resort.” As for those speedy poolside waiters, they are trained in-house, reveals the boss.

“This is new for Abu Dhabi but not for Rixos – this skater waiter/waitress programme started almost 10 years before in Rixos, Turkey,” he adds.

Grand Hotel Dei Dogi

Contemporary comfort with period luxury and large Venetian garden.

Housed in the old and prestigious Rizzo-Patarol noble palace the Boscolo Venezia’s XVII-century façade hides a secret garden, the only one to be found in a hotel in Venice, which is perfectly preserved and faces onto the lagoon. The five star Grand Hotel Dei Dogi combines contemporary comfort with the ‘period luxury’ of the precious marble, splendid frescoes and majestic chandeliers. Located in Cannaregio, it is close to the centre of Venice but at arm’s length from the more crowded thoroughfares giving the real flavour of daily Venetian life.

The 72 luxury high ceilinged rooms of the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi are a clever blend of Venetian style and period furnishings. The 7 spectacular Junior Suites are adorned with oriental carpets, painted XVIII-century wardrobes and Murano chandeliers: some face onto the garden, others directly onto the lagoon. The luxury Presidential Suite is separated from the rest of the hotel and nestled in the magic of the garden, it comes with a mezzanine night area and full-length windows from where you can see the sun rise over the lagoon at dawn.

The restaurant Il Giardino segreto, offers the ‘Boscolo Food Experience’, which pays homage to Italian cuisine. Watch the chefs as they prepare the dishes in the theate style kitchen. Refined wines and champagne are accompanied by locally sourced fare. In the summer dine in the exclusive internal garden.

The Grand Hotel Dei Dogi well-being centre offers beauty treatments that including health, diet and overall wellbeing.

Venice Behind the Mask

Carnival through the eyes of the artisans.

A black gondola glides up the Grand Canal and docks in front of a 15th century Gothic palace blazing with candles. A masked nobleman in a tricorn hat steps out and offers his hand to his alluring companion, also masked, draped in gold finery. The couple strides through space and time into a sumptuous world that once existed, and, if you dive into the right wormhole, still exists today.

Welcome to the Ballo del Doge inside Palazzo Pisani Moretta, the prime party during Carnival. Inspired by the annual ball of centuries past when the Doge of Venice threw a society bash for the aristocracy, it was brought roaring back to life in 1994 by fashion designer Antonia Sautter, and has been described by Vanity Fair as “one of the most exclusive parties in the world.”

In a city famous for its masks, it may be surprising to learn that the Venice Carnival was only revived about 40 years ago. When Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797, he banished Carnival to the pages of history books. However, in 1980, the festival made a spectacular comeback, an event wistfully recalled by those old enough to remember.

luxos venice mask

Veteran mask-maker Sergio Boldrin, owner of La Bottega dei Mascareri, was a kingpin in the revival. “It was pure energy. Everyone was dancing and playing a role. One night I ran into a group of 50 people dressed as Pulcinella. All of Venice was part of Carnival.”

During the political terrorism of the Years of Lead, the wearing of masks was discouraged. Then in 1979, Venice mayor Mario Rigo determined to formally revive the bacchanal celebrations. Rigo persuaded director Maurizio Scaparro to move La Biennale Theatre Festival from October to February of the following year so it would coincide with Carnival. By then, Aldo Rossi’s famed Theatre of the World had been anchored in the lagoon off Punta della Dogana, modeled after the festive floating theatres of 18th century Venice, “a place where architecture ended and the world of the imagination began.” The stage was set to combat the outside discordance with a joyful world snuggled inside the lagoon.

These elements inspired young Venetians to join the fun, creating masks and costumes that reflected their core identities. It was a cry of freedom that still resonates today in fully orchestrated productions that fling ancient rituals into the present, and draw hundreds of thousands revellers to Venice each year.

Marisa Convento, one of the few artisans to continue the Impiraressa glass bead craft, created an embroidered bodice for the winner of the Festa delle Marie, the world’s oldest beauty pageant, which originated in 943 A.D. with an emphasis on virtue. “Venice must be a living city. We are building the future based on the highest qualities of the past. Carnival is an international showcase for local Venetian luxuries.”

luxos venice purse

The essence of Carnival permeates authentic Venetian products all year long, from fabrics and jewellery to shoes and perfume. Milliner Giuliana Longo has lived in the city all her life, plying the same trade as her mother and grandmother. “Venice is a city of magic. There is alchemy here. The spirit, the light of Carnival has always been present.”

Antonia Sautter says that expressing her heritage through fashion is a gift. “I achieved my dream of opening a tailor’s shop in 1994, the same year the Ballo del Doge was born. It is my mission to keep Venice’s artisanal tradition alive, not just during Carnival but also with weddings, luxury events and my handmade fashion collection. Carnival is an opportunity to break free from how others see us.”

Venice provides the stage to give flight to your fancies, the chance to escape behind a mask and become your secret self. The venerable artist Ludovico De Luigi quipped, “Carnival is a dry cleaner. It gives you back your ego, fresh and new.”

luxos venice women

Four Seasons Hotel Megève launches Helicopter Ski Safaris to give guests the ultimate luxury skiing experience

Have you ever visited a ski resort and wished you could see some of the other nearby slopes while you’re there? After all, if you go to the trouble of packing your attire and assembling your gear, it only makes sense that you make the most of your mountaintop experience.

Until recently, this idealistic concept was simply a pipe dream. Now, France’s Four Seasons Hotel Megève is changing the game.

Starting December 15, 2018, guests can take part in luxurious Helicopter Ski Safaris that allow them access not only to the gorgeous slopes that frame the new resort, but also to nearby ones at the Chamonix, Courchevel and Val d’Isère resorts among others.

The result? An all-inclusive tour of the Alps from the vantage point of a soaring eagle high above the summits.

While this is an incredible package deal, it’s far from standardized. Rather, staff at the Megève’s Ski Concierge will tailor the trip every day according to the weather and snow conditions, so guests are always guaranteed a safe, exciting and rewarding skiing experience.

As you glide above Mont Blanc and its neighboring pikes, be sure to bring your camera along. The views are nothing short of breathtaking, even if you’re more comfortable on the bunny slope than a black diamond.

Rates for the Ski Safari begin at EUR 1,310 per night, which equates to around $1,500 USD, for two guests staying in a Megève Deluxe Room. If you book a weeklong trip, you’ll get the privilege of going on three helicopter excursions. Five nights gets you two trips, and three-night visitors are treated to one.

Flying not your thing? No problem.

You can convert the value of the helicopter journey into an equally invigorating adventure on the ground. From dog-sled rides to snowshoeing, you’ll have your pick from multiple exhilarating treks, all of which allow you to see the same terrain as your thrill-seeking buddies high above you. As a sweet trade-off, you’ll even get to enjoy a picnic lunch in a top-scale mountain refuge to refuel before you hit the slopes.

So what are you waiting for? Book your package today and set forth on one of the most luxurious skiing adventures in the world.

You can choose from the Mont Blanc Ski Safari, which centers on 15-minute rides to Chamonix, Flaine or Courmayeur resorts; or the slightly longer Alpine Ski Safari flight, which takes visitors on a 30-minute trip to Val d’Isère, Courchevel, Méribel or Val Thorens.

Available until April 15, 2019, there’s not much time left to pack in this trip of a lifetime. Make your reservation today and take your love of skiing to new heights!

Take a look at Le Spa – an all-new wellness space at Four Seasons, Paris. that will offer “haute couture” therapies

A Luxury hotel is defined not merely by its hospitable staff, but by the quality of amenities it has on board for guests. Understanding and imbibing this well is Four Seasons that recently unveiled an all new luxury spa at the grand Hotel George V Paris. The premium spa cum wellness center includes a range of new offerings, each promising to rejuvenate your mind and leaving you asking for more!

Spread over an area of 720 square meters, Le Spa as it is called, includes a 17-metre swimming pool with a hydro-massage water experience circuit heated to 34 C (93 F), a 90-square meter cutting-edge fitness room snug with optimum technology based equipment, and a stylish hair salon with two hair dressing stations and a plethora of styling treatment to choose from. It also boasts of signature experiences such as a Kobido traditional Japanese facelift, an Alaena organic certified bio anti-ageing treatment, and a Dr Burgener escape (an exhaustive antioxidant treatment) designed especially for guests. Le Spa also offers a range of Swiss Perfection therapies that are developed to treat signs of ageing by stimulating cell regeneration.

The ingenious wellness center is further created by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon with carefully chosen color palettes, that are both warm as well as soothing for the eyes. A dedicated wellness center with the best of Parisian excellence and International therapies, Le Spa is certainly a Four Seasons stalwart that deserves to be checked off your bucket-list!

Review: Timo Anderson

Baan Huraa, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort : A Thai culinary symphony nestled in an Overwater Oasis

Often in the world of food, the war of prowess becomes an unwieldy battle between the real deal and the good stuff. There are those who have eaten dishes in their place of origin and will accept no other version of it; and there are those who accept appetising dishes with much nonchalance for authenticity. I take pride in saying I have picked a side; the former one of the two.

Anantara Veli’s signature Thai restaurant Baan Huraa easily surpassed all my prior rendezvous with Thai fare. Nestled over the ocean, the overwater haven radiates oodles of authentic Thai delicacies coupled with the finest hospitality. Enveloped by the rhythm of the sea beneath and the soothing horizon, I was overpowered by Baan Huraa’s ambience almost instantly.

The service was exceptional and the staff was welcoming and eager to help amateurs navigate the fairly alien menu. For non-vegetarians, the menu was inexhaustible with bountiful options across meats and seafood. Furthermore, unlike most other Asian diners flung far and wide, Baan Huraa had no dearth of vegetarian alternatives either.

Our much-awaited vegetarian three-course dinner commenced with the Thai version of paan. The server approached our table with an adorable wooden box brimming with some interesting condiments such as raw ginger, lemon chunks, raw coconut, red eye chilies and sambal. All the condiments were to be wrapped into a leaf to form a refreshing pre-meal bite.

Given my love for tofu, the Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce was the most obvious choice for the first course. In addition, we also ordered a Som Tam salad. The Tofu Satay was a winner with its tender and velvety centre seasoned with spices and marinated to perfection. The peanut sauce was so delectable, we requested for another helping. We even teamed it up with the Som Tam salad, which was flavourful and tangy with a hint of spice from the birds eye chilies. The finely-cut papaya was left al dente to perfection, adding a crunchy texture to our first courses.

An interesting trio of red, brown and white sticky rice
Main Course – Pad Thai Noodles and the Winner of the Night – Massaman Curry

For main course, a sizeable feast greeted our taste buds in the form of Pad Thai Noodles, Massaman curry and a Three-Mushroom Salad. Commemorating the fine flavours of Thai cuisine, the Pad Thai was a real highlight! Comprising light flat noodles, sautéed perfectly with a wholesome variety of vegetables, the dish managed to maintain a perfect balance between sweet, tangy and spicy. The dish of the night however, was the Massaman Curry. It was a welcome change from all curries, be it Green, Red or Massaman, tasting exactly the same in most restaurants back home in India. While this Massaman curry too did have a generous amount of coconut, the flavour generated from the freshly prepared peanut paste and perfectly cooked vegetables, shone through and made it one of the better curries we have tasted on our travels worldwide. Interestingly, Baan Huraa ditched the concept of a singular portion of white rice; and partnered the curry with a trio of rice, brown, red and sticky white. We especially enjoyed pairing the curry with the red rice. Unfortunately, the Three-Mushroom salad was nothing to write home about; it lacked the zest and essential nuances the rest of the dishes entailed.

Dessert – The simple yet flavourful chocolate ice-cream

We were full to the brim after the delicious meal, but decided to order the chocolate ice cream for dessert. It was extremely creamy and airy, with an excellent dark chocolate flavour, making it a perfect end to a sumptuous meal.

All in all, we had a memorable culinary experience comprising a terrific amalgamation of flavours and textures right from start to finish. Baan Huraa is definitely a must visit for anyone heading to the Anantara properties in Maldives.

Where: Anantara Veli Maldives Resort
Veligandu, South Male Atoll 20109, Maldives
Phone: +960 664-4100
Average Cost: $110 for two people

Review: Diana Herrick

Suite of the Week: The tropical One-bedroom Hawaiian Oceanfront Suites at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

If the tropical island of Hawaii is on your bucket list this season, we highly recommend staying at the Fairmont Orchid. The 32-acre sprawling tropical resort is decorated with stunning white beaches, swaying palm trees and picturesque lagoons. Perched on one of Hawaii’s most populated and diverse island, the rooms at the property have the most beautiful views of the beach or the mountains.


If you are in the mood to splurge, the One-bedroom Hawaiian Oceanfront Suites are simply stunning! The immensity of the Pacific Ocean can be admired from the bedroom, living room and both private lanais (a local adorable version of a balcony). A set of opulent French doors separate the parlor from the grand bedroom.

Hale Kai Restaurant

A sectional sleeper adorns the room while coffee tables further accentuate the aesthetic surroundings. The well-planned layout of the suite entails a half bathroom off the living room, as well as a second private furnished lanai and a separate powder room. Of course, the master bedroom includes a spacious marble-clad bathroom with dual vanities and a tub/shower.

State of the art facilities dress up the room; and that means WiFi access, a 42” LCD HD Flat Screen television with built in media hub and iPod adapter, Bose stereo, refrigerator and Keurig coffee maker.

If you are travelling in a larger room, opt for the Big Island Oceanfront Suites that can connect to a spacious luxurious guest room to become a Two-Bedroom Suite.

Area: 1,477 sq m
Occupancy: 2 adults and 2 children
Rate: $1,749.00 per night + tax and Resort Charge

Where: The Fairmont Orchid
1 N Kaniku Dr, Waimea, HI 96743, USA
Phone: +1 808-885-2000

Review: Tina Adams


Kids of the 1% can now enjoy Alice in Wonderland themed tea parties while cruising in a private jet

Alice’s famous adventure in Wonderland may have begun with her falling down a rabbit hole, but VistaJet is taking a slice of her journey to the skies. The charter plane company has teamed up with Sharky & George –an event planning duo that are famous for their epic kiddie parties – to offer Mad Tea Parties on board a private jet!

These Alice in Wonderland inspired parties come with a starting price of $4000, and that doesn’t count the $12,000 you need to actually charter the jet!

The experience includes actors dressed as characters from the world famous kids’ book. These trained entertainers also engage the kids in games and activities that are tailored to their ages.

From attempting arts and crafts to sampling sweet treats all inspired by the world of Wonderland, there’s never a dull moment for kids in this party plane.

You can also opt for a Kingsman themes adventure or opt to make your movie in-flight!

While private jets with parties for kids may seem like a niche concept, Matteo Atti, executive vice president feels like they are meeting a gap in the market.

“Given that one in every four VistaJet flights has a child on board, we saw the opportunity to build something incredibly special for our younger passengers,” he told Bloomberg. “If you can trust us with your family, you can trust us with anything,” he says.

For further info: Client contact

Aman takes you around the world in 22 days with their lavish private jet expedition

The world “Aman Resort” and “Package tour” don’t usually seem to go together; the former brings to mind a luxurious experience with a slow, leisurely pace while the latter usually tends to be a laundry list of activities crammed into an embarrassingly short time period mixed in with exhausting flights. But of course, Aman is surprising us all by offering an exclusive world tour that touches down at a number of destinations across Asia and Europe over 22 days.

When we say exclusive, we really mean it. Only 16 guests will have the opportunity to be a part of the experience. Accommodations are, of course, all Aman properties that range from urban to remote – a choice that allows guests to experience the full breadth of Aman’s hospitality in different locations.

The experience includes Aman resorts in Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Bhutan, India, Greece, Montenegro and Italy and you’ll travel to each of these stunning locations in a private Airbus ACJ 318 which boasts 4 lounges, 2 restrooms and even a shower. The resort has planned a wide array of activities and experiences that include everything from sushi making and sword fighting lessons in Tokyo to off road cycling in Vietnam’s Vinh Hy Bay. As with other pre-planned tours, there will be plenty of visits to local attractions and opportunities to shop. Activities are tailored to each location, so you can enjoy a visit to an Elephant sanctuary in Thailand or visit the Cheri monastery in Bhutan.

Throughout the trip, there will be opportunities to socialize with your fellow travelers at breakfasts and special cocktail evenings and of course, there is always the promise of the luxurious Aman spas at their resorts.

To reserve a spot email amanprivatejet@aman.com or call +1 646 403 4128

Review: Robert Nielson

11 of the most luxurious safari lodges in Africa

There’s genuinely no place like Africa in the world. The stunning lush-green landscapes, a plethora of game and ultra-luxe lodges are only some of the elements making Africa one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Undoubtedly, lavish experiences come with a hefty price tag; especially if you happen to choose the spectacular wildebeest migration period from June – early September!

We’ve tirelessly scoured the entire continent to bring you the most exclusive safari lodges in the region. From Kruger National Park in beautiful South Africa to the flat plains of Tanzania and Kenya, we’ve compiled an intriguing list of 11 lodges to enhance your summer plans.

#11 Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge
One of the most intimate lodges in all of Africa, Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve is quietly nestled amidst a rainforest. Considering the property entails only eight luxurious suites, you can be well assured that the main focus here is glass-walled personal attention. Visualise glass walled bedrooms, local wood and stone interiors and private game viewing experiences from the comfort of your suite.

Although the lodge is home to only eight lodges, the property yet spans an impressive 1,800 hectares and further, it features a gorgeous infinity pool, a gym and a salon. If indoor accommodation bores you, we highly recommend experimenting with their sleep out under the stars experience! On a raised hide and second floor sleeping deck, you can sleep under the stars of the African sky. Paired with some delectable food and award winning wines, this occupies the 11th position on our list.

#10 Thanda Private Game Reserve
Bagging a no. 10 position on our list, the Thanda Private Game Reserve is a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World and multiple winner of The World’s Leading Luxury Lodge. The 14,000 hectare Big Five private game reserve is perched in the beautiful land of Zululand. Guests have a plethora of options when it comes to accommodation: Thanda Safari Lodge, Thanda Tented Camp and Villa iZulu.

With individual plunge pools, private viewing decks and thatched outdoor day beds, the nine spacious and beautiful bush suites span 220 m² and are shaped like traditional Zulu homesteads.

The colourful public areas of the lodge feature a cute library, a curio shop, a private business area for those eager business-cum-holiday-goers, a fancy cigar bar and an impressively stocked wine cellar..

#9 Rock Lodge, Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
At the uber-fancy Phinda Private Game Reserve, there are a plethora of options to reside in; although our personal favourite is the Rock Lodge. Dramatically set into a cliff face overlooking spectacular Leopard Rock, Rock Lodge is genuinely an architectural delight with its 6 suites seemingly suspended over the deep valley below, providing unprecedented views of the plains below. Each of the stone suites entails solid wooden shutters and doors opening onto a private plunge pool and viewing deck. The fancy outdoor showers unquestionably provide some of the most scenic al fresco bathing on the African continent. Scrumptious food further enhances your stay at the lodge, which can be complimented with unforgettable bush banquets under the African night sky.

#8 Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve
Run and managed by the owner himself, the Jamala Madikwa Royal Safari Lodge is gracefully decorated in a combination of colonial style and African authenticity. It’s detailing and luxury makes it one of the most-sought after lodges on the continent.

Residing in one of the five private deluxe villas, you will cherish a rim flow pool, an expansive wooden deck area as well as private outdoor showers. The cozy main lodge boasts an elegant decor with a dining area, beautifully appointed interior areas, an exterior main deck and an outdoor boma area where meals are complimented with traditional dance and song rituals.

#7 Gibb’s Farm, Karatu, Tanzania
One of the most renowned properties in the Ngorongoro Highlands, the Gibb’s Farm comprises a set of quirky cottages. Set amongst an array of flowery gardens, the Farm once owned by the Gibb’s family is one of the priciest options in the highlands.

Retaining their original charm, the sturdy cottages have a very homely feel to them and command great views of the region below. The property has regularly been used as a basing point for most tourists given their beautiful and different surroundings.

Producing their own coffee, livestock and vegetables, Gibb’s Farm is popular for their luncheons.

#6 Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge
A part of Sir Richard Brandson’s hospitality portfolio, Ulusaba Rock Lodge is the epitome of style and comfort and commands some of the most stunning views in the area. Perched high on a rocky structure, the safari lodge is set against a backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountain range far in the distance.

You have a plethora of options to stay in; namely the new Makwela Suites, Rock Cliff Rooms, and the stunning stand-alone Master Suite. The beautiful split level rooms hang over the cliff and makes for a great view.

In addition to the usual game drives, guests can also choose a tour of the Shangaan Village or spend their time at the on-site tennis court.

#5 Tswalu Kalahari, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa
Housing a maximum of 30 guests at any given time across their two accommodation options, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve yet covers nearly a quarter of a million acres. The National Geographic Lodge entails 9 suites and a private homestead with 5 suites.

Crafted from desert sand, rock, and thatch, each suite includes a private sundeck and an outdoor shower with majestic bush views. From daily game drives and night drives to horseback riding experiences and bush walks, this property offers it all.

#4 Londolozi, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
An integral part of the world-famous collection of game lodges that have belonged to the Varty children for over 75 years, the Londolozi is home to five camps ranging from chalets and suites to treehouse suites and granite rooms; some of which entail private swimming pools.

Throughout the camp there is a sense of history thanks to the well-restored memorabilia of photographs, old suitcases, silver, crystal glass and gramophones.

For rhino lovers, rhino tracking is a special activity which will focus only on rhinos. In May, June and July the bushveld can be experienced by joining the absolute stillness of the bush walks. You can also experience a bush breakfast or an adventure picnic in the spectacular wilderness.

#3 Singita Sabi Sand, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Singita Boulders Lodge is a masterpiece built among the rocks of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The two luxurious game lodges at Singita Sabi Sand, namely Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Ebony Lodge, entail secluded thatched suites that reflect an eclectic mix of colours, fabrics and textures. The main lodge features a lounge and timber deck dining areas overlooking the Sand River, a bar area and traditional open boma, gymnasium, health spa, library and wine cellar.

#2 Ivory Lodge, Lion Sands Game Reserve, Mpumalanga
The only reserve to have access to the Sabie river, the Ivory Lodge if one labeledegion’s finest lodges and has been labelled as one of the best hotels in the world.

At Ivory Lodge, instead of the standard luxury-lodge formula, they opted for a Zen-inspired series of spaces with an ivory and black decorative leitmotif across just 6 luxurious suites. From glass walls to heated plunge pools, you have it all. You can also spend a night in one of the lodge’s 3 treehouses: one in a high jackalberry, one overlooking the river, and the other in an ancient leadwood tree.

#1 Royal Malewane
Set on the Thorneybush private game reserve, Royal Malewane definitely tops our list as it offers some of the best luxury safari accommodation around, sleeping only 20 guests in very private suites.

What sets it apart? Well, the Royal and Malewane Suites are some of the largest rooms in African lodges and come with exclusive private hideaway with private chef, butler, sole-use game vehicle and four massages offered per suite per day.

The standard suites are just as fancy with high colonial style decor, each featuring a fireplace, antique furniture and canopied king size bed as well as a large bathroom with Victorian claw foot bath and indoor and outdoor showers.